NIAF News Releases

Media Advisory: West Coast Gala


Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or



SPONSOR: The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF)

WHEN: Thursday evening, May 19, 2011
6:30 p.m. Cocktail Reception
7:30 p.m. Dinner

WHERE: The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
101 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, Calif. 90401

Academy Award-winning actor Ernest Borgnine, the “Incredible Hulk” Lou Ferrigno and 12-Time MLB All-Star Mike Piazza lead the list of stars attending the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) West Coast Gala at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows on Thursday, May 19, 2011. Film and television star, producer and director Joe Mantegna will be this year’s master of ceremonies.

This year’s honorees include Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and Dodgers great Tommy Lasorda who will receive a NIAF Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports Management. Famed trial lawyer Thomas V. Girardi of Girardi & Keese will receive a NIAF Special Achievement Award in Law. Former sports marketing executive Sonny Vaccaro will receive the Foundation’s Special Achievement Award in Youth Activities and Sports. The evening also will pay tribute to legendary public affairs consultant and former NIAF vice chairman Joseph R. Cerrell.

Also in attendance will be Francesco Quinn, son of Oscar winner Anthony Quinn, and actress Brenda Vaccaro.

Actor and singer Franc D’Ambrosio, of “Phantom of the Opera,” will sing the U.S. and Italian national anthems and entertain guests with his vast repertoire of songs.

The gala begins with a 6:30 p.m. cocktail reception, followed by dinner and award presentations of these prominent Italian Americans.

Tickets begin at $250 per person. For sponsorship and ticket information, contact Jerry Jones at 202/939-3102 or Go to

Media Contacts: Elissa Ruffino at 202/939-3106 or
Natasha Borato at 202/939-3116 or

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan foundation dedicated to promoting the contributions of Italian Americans. The Foundation has a wide range of programs that provide scholarships and grants, conferences and cultural seminars. Visit

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